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Straight leg raise

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Title: Straight leg raise  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Knee examination, Elbow extension test, Radiculopathy, Barlow maneuver, Assessment and plan
Collection: Medical Signs, Musculoskeletal Examination, Symptoms and Signs: Nervous System
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Straight leg raise

The straight leg raise, also called Lasègue's sign, Lasègue test or Lazarević's sign, is a test done during the physical examination to determine whether a patient with low back pain has an underlying herniated disk, often located at L5 (fifth lumbar spinal nerve).


  • Technique 1
  • Interpretation 2
  • Lasègue's sign 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5


With the patient lying down on his or her back on an examination table or exam floor, the examiner lifts the patient's leg while the knee is straight.

A variation is to lift the leg while the patient is sitting.[1] However, this reduces the sensitivity of the test.[2]

Straight Leg test sometimes used to help diagnose a lumbar herniated disc


If the patient experiences sciatic pain when the straight leg is at an angle of between 30 and 70 degrees, then the test is positive and a herniated disc is likely to be the cause of the pain.[3]

A meta-analysis reported the accuracy as:[4]

If raising the opposite leg causes pain (cross or contralateral straight leg raising):

  • sensitivity 29%
  • specificity 88%

Lasègue's sign

Lasègue's sign was named after Charles Lasègue (1816-1883).[5] In 1864 Lasègue described the signs of developing low back pain while straightening the knee when the leg has already been lifted. In 1880 Serbian doctor Laza Lazarević described the straight leg raise test as it is used today, so the sign is often named Lazarević's sign in Serbia and some other countries.[6]

See also


  1. ^ Waddell G, McCulloch JA, Kummel E, Venner RM (1980). "Nonorganic physical signs in low-back pain". Spine 5 (2): 117–25.  
  2. ^ Rabin A, Gerszten PC, Karausky P, Bunker CH, Potter DM, Welch WC (2007). "The sensitivity of the seated straight-leg raise test compared with the supine straight-leg raise test in patients presenting with magnetic resonance imaging evidence of lumbar nerve root compression". Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation 88 (7): 840–3.  
  3. ^ Speed C (2004). "Low back pain". BMJ 328 (7448): 1119–21.  
  4. ^ Devillé WL, van der Windt DA, Dzaferagić A, Bezemer PD, Bouter LM (2000). "The test of Lasègue: systematic review of the accuracy in diagnosing herniated discs". Spine 25 (9): 1140–7.  
  5. ^
  6. ^ Lazarevićev znak (Croatian)
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